What should you reasonably expect of a draft pick? What constitutes a bust? Is it fair to expect a rotation player if you're drafting in the latter half of the first round? All great questions that Tim Donahue of Eight Points, Nine Seconds seeks to answer with an impressive set of data.
According to SeatGeek.com (via the Wall Street Journal), the LeBacle saved NBA fans serious cash: "According to ticket-price aggregator SeatGeek.com, fans would have had to pay an average of $349 to see LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers play a home game for this round. But the Cavs didn't make it, and the average resale ticket price for the teams that did, the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, is $157.81 and $157.90, respectively."
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie on Kobe Bryant's tactical approach to Game 1: "... Bryant was essentially going one-on-one against the Suns in a way that favored the Lakers. A way that stayed within the confines of the offense, something that ... makes him more dangerous. Like improvising in transition. Finding a quick elbow post-up in delayed transition, while using triangle spacing and watching as the potential help defenders have to slunk away while they follow your teammates because of triangle cuts off the ball. This leaves space to work, a nervous defender, and distraction enough to pull up for that fadeaway. Quick, smart, potent. He didn't need to drive endlessly, flatten out the offense with 1-4 sets, or call for screen after screen. Any pick and roll run with Pau Gasol ended with a pull-up 15-footer, not a tough 19-footer with a hand in his face. Were there any potential for that 19-footer, Kobe would decline to force it. He was absolutely brilliant."
Kevin Pelton examined the box score and discovered that the starting units for Phoenix and the Lakers essentially played each other even: "... the Suns were +2 in the first quarter and the Lakers +3 in the second quarter. When both teams went small, however, with Frye replacing Robin Lopez and Odom stepping in for Andrew Bynum, that's when the Lakers surged ahead. Los Angeles was +24 in Odom's 31 minutes of action; Phoenix was -13 during the 20 minutes Frye played."
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold says that the Lakers' much-maligned bench, which performed well in Game 1 on Monday night, has actually been playing quality basketball for a while now.
FreeDarko has updated its draft board and now has Caudipteryx going No. 9 to Utah with the Knicks' pick. Just what the Jazz need -- more undersized, flightless personnel up front.
Can Dwight Howard beat Kendrick Perkins down on the block? Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post reviewed Perkins' defensive catalog from the regular season and discovered that a handful of big men had prolific games against the Celtics' center. BQR found something else: "Perkins has a weakness, however, and that is covering the big man rolling to the rim on pick-and-roll plays. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Perkins defended 51 such situations this year, and opponents scored 1.02 points per possession and 51% of the time. He rates from 'Good' to 'Excellent' in every other play type, meaning Howard's best bet is to keep running hard to the rim on screen-and-roll plays."
Royce Young of Daily Thunder looks at what Kevin Durant needs to do to become a better producer in end-of-quarter situations. The diagnosis? "He’s not great at using his dribble to escape a double-team. He’s not great at putting the ball down in traffic and getting into the paint. We saw the Lakers use a flash double-team to get the ball out of KD’s hands. Teams don’t fear KD’s drive, so they play him tight and try and body him. Or they use an extra defender and force him to pass."
A rite of spring: Has the Spurs window closed?
The Nuggets underperformed this spring and head into summer with a series of stubborn questions. For all the hand-wringing, though, conventional wisdom credits Carmelo Anthony for having a breakthrough season in 2009-10 ... but did he? Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company wonders how much Anthony has really grown as a player.
Wilson Chandler figures to earn a decent living as a pro basketball player, but that doesn't mean he can't be seduced by a smart, well-placed marketing campaign.